Thou dust in us command!

John Geddes writes in Thou dost jest, dostn’t thou? at Macleans, that:

The government tells us in the Speech from the Throne that it’s open to changing the line in the O Canada that goes “True patriot love in all thy sons command” back to the original ”True patriot love thou dost in us command.”

Apparently, the thou-dost line was used from 1908 to 1914. There’s a fascinating history of the anthem here, which shows how often we’ve tinkered with the English lyrics. So I guess traditionalists among us can’t object to another change on grounds that this is sacrosanct poetry.

My first thought is that conservatives, of whatever stripe or label think there was some dear time in the past when everything was just correct. Aaaah! The wonderful glorious sunset-lit past was so much better than now. Let us all worship the year zero where we can start again fresh and steer the country towards a glorious and correct future.

Pol Pot wanted to drive Cambodia back to the year zero, where he could start again.

"Thou dust in us command!"

But Stephen Harper proposes the change as gender neutral –  a step forward for women – and at the same time turn the clock back to the glorious past – tradition. How can you be opposed to that?

It’s a tactic. He’s just picking a fight. The position is this: Anyone opposed to the change is anti-feminist and at the same time a reactionary radical.

Women got the vote in Canada in 1916 in Manitoba through to 1925. Yea, let’s turn back the national anthem to a non-gender specific, archaic turn of phrase when women weren’t equal – or even citizens.

Update 05-mar-2010: There has been for some time, a grassroots correction to this “all thy sons command” line. People have been using “in all of us command.” I have been singing that line. I thought it was the ‘official’ correction. I always wondered why when I was singing that line that everyone else was singing something different.

Another ad hoc ‘correction’ is to change “our home and native land” to “our home on native land.”

Update 05.mar-2010: National anthem won’t change: PMO

Very clever chess move, yes sir, very clever. Now, what was in that Throne Speech again?